The Junior “Spirit” Cottle-headed SVG Cannabis Revival Committee, says it wants to call to the attention of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines the continued eradication by the police of cannabis plots farmed by traditional cultivators following the passage of the Medical Cannabis and Amnesty Laws on Dec. 10, 2018.
“We are aware that the passage of these laws do not make them effective until their pronouncement by the Governor General.
But we cannot, on the one hand, be saying to our growers there is going to be a legal opportunity to sell your existing cannabis under the amnesty while, on the other hand, be eradicating the very crops before they are delivered,” Cottle said in a press statement.
“Otherwise, the amnesty will fail to achieve its purpose and growers will continue to be receptive of doubts,” he further said, adding that agricultural tools and equipment were seized during the eradication exercises.
The CRC says it is the representative organisation of cannabis growers throughout SVG.
“With the confusion and uncertainty amongst many traditional cultivators surrounding this developing industry, eradication at this time only makes matters worse.
“We pray to God to give the strength to those growers who have lost their crops by this eradication, and that they continue to see the development of this industry as a positive step.
“And we call on the government to take steps to bring this eradication to a close, and to assist those growers whose tools and other equipment used for other agricultural crops which were seized by the police in the process, be returned to their owners,” Cottle said.
Parliament in December passed two pieces of legislation paving the way for the establishment of a medical marijuana industry in SVG.
Agriculture Minister, Saboto Caesar, who sponsored the laws, said that it would end many of the sufferings people had endured in the illegal marijuana trade.
Lawmakers also approved the Medical Marijuana Amnesty Bill amidst calls by the opposition and some members of the Rastafarian community for the Ralph Gonsalves government to go the full length and give legal sanction to possession of small quantities of the plant for recreational use.
Members of the Rastafari community were divided as Parliament began two days of debate on the marijuana reform legislation.
Like the political divide inside the national assembly, Rastafari were split along the street outside, with those championing the bills on one side and their brethren who oppose it on the other.
In a seperate statement, last weekend, the CRC said SVG’s medical cannabis industry “will fail unless there is genuine, comprehensive, and structural participation of traditional cultivators in the process.
The CRC, noting that it is a non-partisan organisation, said more than 30 participants at a meeting of the CRC have echoed these sentiments.
The meeting, which looked at developing the necessary structures and the organisational capacity of traditional cultivators, also discussed issues of fair trade, emphasising the participation of the youths, and sustainable development.
“The CRC wishes to express thanks for the capacity building support being given to us by Mr Bernard Hamilton in this period of our transition to a formal economic life. Mr. Hamilton a past manager of the Bank of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has worked in solidarity with community groups and non- governmental organizations during the years.
The following officers were named as part of an executive interim steering committee:
President — Junior “ Spirit” Cottle; Vice President — Ajit Duncan; Public Relations Officer — Colin Shoy; Assistant Public Relations Officer — Alvin Collins; Secretary — Victor “Mwata” Byron; Assistant Secretary — Hassan Kennedy; and Treasurer — Bernard Delplesche
Interim Steering Committee Members: Monifa Allan Charles, Philmon Robertson, Theophilus Alexander, Shadony Williams, Orlando Charles, Marguerite Douglas, H. Ithamar Charles, and Basil Delplesche.